Clown Shoes

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English Barleywine
4.15 | pDev: 6.51%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 63 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep amber with some mahogany hues topped by a dense and slightly rocky finger and a half of light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of dark fruits, toffee, caramel, oak, and some slight alcohol
T: Taste is dark fruits, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and slight oak with some slight toasted malts. Just a touch of vanilla on this one as well. On the swallow there's more oak, caramel, brown sugar, toasted malts, and dark fruits.
M: This beer has a body which is on the heavier side of medium with a pleasant and creamy feel on the palate. Carbonation on this one is adequate and just slightly prickly at times while the beer has a slightly drying finish.
O: Overall this is a pretty nice beer. The scotch barrels don't seem to add much but overall Clown Shoes beers tend to be fairly light on the barrel. The beer still has a nice amount of complexity which makes it pleasant to drink. A well crafted British Barleywine. Worth trying if you can find it.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Caramel, dates, red apple, raisin, toffee, sweet, light alcohol, hint of scotch, brown sugar, sweet plum, light vanilla

Overall held up great after 2 years

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a murky reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, brown sugar and raisins.

T - The taste is caramel malts, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, plums and some light scotch in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a crisp dry finish.

O - Solid BA English Barleywine. The scotch is light in the flavor allowing the a flavors to shine.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought On-Line

22 oz. Bomber
Bottled On: 05/20/16

Poured into a tulip a pretty nice cloudy amberish color, very nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger light tan head, which leaves a really big island/oil slick, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some citrus, scotch, oaky, some dark fruits, vanilla. The taste is really nice, malty, hoppy, slight citrus, with some dark fruits, nice vanilla sweetness, with a very nice touch of scotch/oak. Full Body, ABV is hidden very well, nice complexity to this brew, with a nice little dry/bitter finish. Overall, this is a pretty tasty.

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Photo of Damian
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 1 pint 6 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Fort Point Market, Boston, MA
Bottled on 05/20/16
Served in a snifter

Ruddy, dark crimson-amber appearance. The translucent, viscous looking liquid was topped by a thin, frothy, tan colored crown that quickly dropped to a bubbly collar. Some drippy, streaky lacing cascaded down the glass after each sip.

The nose was sweet and malt forward but fairly subtle. Caramel and toffee notes dominated. Moderately boozy. A nice generic fruity quality was apparent as well. Hint of brown sugar. As the beer sat, the alcohol really came forth. Raisin and plum notes appeared as well.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but lacked some depth. Malty up front. Caramel notes were apparent. Brown sugar too. Somewhat bready. Fruity in the center. Raisins perhaps. Boozy notes came through big time on the back end and in the finish. There was a harsh, whiskey-like note, but the beer definitely lacked any type of Scotch character.

Fairly disappointing mouthfeel. Light and frothy on the palate. Thinner bodied for the style. The liquid contained a lively, finely beaded effervescence.

I really loved Clown Shoes's Billionaire, their Cognac barrel-aged barleywine, bit this Speyside Scotch barrel variation was devoid of any type of Scotch barrel character and lacked complexity. Perhaps more time in barrels, as well as more time in my cellar, would have improved this beer.

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Photo of Antg8989
4.76/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Let's Go Patriots! Aside from that, another outstanding brew by Clown Shoes. Pours a deep, semi-cloudy copper/brown. Tiny head. Littttttle bit of lacing. Aroma is of dark fruits (raisins), molasses, honey, scotch. Taste is very much the same with the scotch heating up toward the end of the sip. The feel is chewy but light - couldn't be more perfect - so smooth and warm. The only real hints of this being 12.5% are the scotch notes. Aside from that, this is extremely drinkable. YUMMM.

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Photo of Casey3236
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love these Clown Shoes BA offerings. They've put their English style Barleywine in just about everything, and this time it's scotch barrels. Lots of caramel and vanilla as you'd expect. Pretty big booze presence from the scotch barrels. Another winner.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Justdoit1234 (thanks man!). Bottled 5/20/16. Served in a Clown Shoes snifter.

Pours an opaque orange hued brown with a finger and a quarter deep ecrue froth. The head shrinks slowly, leaving a healthy sheet across the surface, fluffy collar and a few small spots of lace.

Caramel, cereal, dark fruit, Scotch and some wet wood in the nose. Pretty nice.

Flavors expand upon the aroma. Toffee, apple peel, gently burning Scotch, caramel, wet oak, dark fruit, brown sugar, leather, tobacco and a hearty smack of booze. The Scotch works well with the base English barleywine.

Smooth, creamy, robust body with rather light carbonation. The rich finish contains notes of toffee, caramel, dark fruit and Scotch.

I've been a fan of Clown Shoes' English barleywine since I first had it in their fourth anniversary release, Billionaire. It has been delightful after aging in both a couple kinds of cognac barrels and bourbon barrels so a Scotch barrel treatment is a welcome addition to the family. I would love to see this released on a larger scale.

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Photo of justme
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Apprehensive about this one. Loved Billionaire. Could this possibly be a thousand times better? Well, by that equation it falls short. By every other estimate it is as good. This is an English Barelywine worth getting to know. Full flavored. A wonderful experience.

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Photo of superspak
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 5/20/2016. Pours hazy dark ruby red/light brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, the reduces to a small cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, vanilla, oak, whiskey, toasted biscuit, raisin, plum, fig, apricot, apple, and date; with linger notes of nuttiness, roast, peat smoke, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Slight booziness in the nose as it warms. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and scotch barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, vanilla, oak, whiskey, toasted biscuit, raisin, plum, fig, apricot, apple, and date; with linger notes of nuttiness, roast, peat smoke, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light herbal hop bitterness and scotch/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, vanilla, oak, whiskey, toasted biscuit, dark/light fruits, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and scotch barrel flavors; with a nice malt/bitter and oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Slight dryness from bitter/oak spiciness, lightly increasing through the glass. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly sticky balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish; with minimal barrel booziness. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged English barleywine. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and scotch barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It pours hazy dark amber to light brown as continual streams of bubbles rise rapidly from the bottom of the glass to refresh the light tan head that rapidly dissipates. Trillionaire releases dark sugar, dark dried fruit, whisky, and slight tart aromas. It has an almost juicy scent with traces of over ripe fruit. Trillionaire is very creamy on the palate with caramel, vanilla and alcohol that initially evoke memories of a sweet, yeasty caramel roll. Mid-palate a mild sweetness persists as sherry soaked fruit emerge and grow as the beer warms. A second pour produces a 1.5" rocky and persistent head. Trillionaire is mildly sweet but the alcohol and a mild hop bitterness provide balance. It is alcoholic and warming but nor excessively hot or solventy. The carbonation is medium high and the body is very creamy, full and chewy. This beer is the perfect companion to fill the gap between dinner and bedtime and goes well with a small fire or a cigar.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Bottled May 20th 2016.

Pale orange and dark chestnut brown body color. Hits with a very faint light tan khaki color. Creamy top of a finger and dissolves to a good bubbly but tiny collar. Quite light for an English, but still got some spunk to it.

Very unique aroma. Dried fig but lighter and a touch of faint smoke. Salted pickle a little strangely which is a nice fun touch. Toffee crackly notes of sweetness and brittle. Very nice smelling barleywine.

Palate seems to stay simple. Light bodied but full rounded in feel, sharp flavors everywhere. Stingy hop bitterness a bit, but a good alcohol sharp punch and tight booze flavor. Faint hints of wood and smoke, but quite a bit buried. Mid palate gets a bit dry and almost burning wood character. Some nice pleasant sweet slight aftertastes of toffee, raisin, and a bit of sharp bitter apricot.

Very interesting, this could be interesting if this were aged a really long time before bottling I think.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bottled on 05/20/16

Pours burgundy maroon red with a creamy khaki colored foam head. Smells like sweet slightly smoky whiskey, oak, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, graham crackery grains, lightly stewed plums, red grapes, raisin, prune, dark fruits, sweet grapefruit, orange citrus, with mild herbal earthy grass and pine. Tastes like sweet whiskey, vanilla, charred oak, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, graham crackery grain, red grapes, lightly stewed plums, dried fruit, dark fruit, roasty chocolate, sweet grapefruit, orange citrus, with earthy herbal grass and pine. Feels medium bodied, slick with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice and balanced scotch barrel aged english barleywine.

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Photo of darktronica
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Less distinctive than the two original cognac Billionaire releases. Heart of Speyside is an unpeated Benriach expression from their core lineup, and it's Speyside in any case, so don't go into this expecting heavy peat and smoke. Nonetheless, this has a bit of a briny note on the tongue that counterbalances the sweetness of the base beer in a nice way, producing a bitter finish that is more like pomelo than hops. This doesn't detract from the fact that Trillionaire is still unmistakably English in character, with plenty of caramel and vanilla as it warms.

Mild on the barrel character, which might be expected given the scotch barrel (scotch is typically aged in used bourbon barrels, so this makes the beer the barrel's third fill). This allows the base barleywine to really come through--probably my least favorite of the four Billionaire-themed releases, but still quite a lovely drink.

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Photo of Pierre_Pressure
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark caramel color. Finger's worth of head, decent retention
S: Sweet, smokey vanilla. Scotch character is light, but present
T: Right off the bat, this is not nearly as cloyingly sweet as many barrel aged barleywines tend to be. Flavor follows the nose but the scotch character is more present. A nice peatyness comes through.
F: Medium thickness
O: I think this has dethroned Sucaba and Night Shift's Marilyn as my favorite barrel aged barleywine. The balance between scotch/barrel/beer flavors is perfect. The peat flavor that I am getting from the scotch is balancing out the sweetness that I am getting from the barleywine. If you are like me and like scotch or if you are like me and find most barrel aged barleywines to be too sweet, then this is something you need to try. One last note, I don't think this is a beer I would recommend aging. It is so well balanced right now, why risk losing that?

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Photo of Dope
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

05/20/16 bottling date

A: Pours jet-black with a nice tall dense medium brown head. Quite good head retention but fairly sparse lacing.

S: Medicinal, like band-aids. Smoky and chocolatey. Quite a bit of sweetness from the base beer still pokes through.

T: Decent amount of peatiness and smokiness up front but not overpowering. A lot of sweetness coming up from the base which really helps balance it out. Tons of sweet caramel and hints of raisins throughout. Lightly oaky and smoky aftertaste.

M: Thick and sweet but balanced by the scotch decently.

O: Not bad. I was expecting something horrific but the scotch barrels do not overpower here. Or maybe the base beer is so big and sweet it can stand up to the scotch. Who knows. Nicely balanced, easy drinking.

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Photo of Boccu
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky brown. With a light head very little. Light scotch aroma. Flavor.... Very weird not bad. A mash of flavor. From start to finish with a vanilla tone to an undeniable scotch finish. Not as good as other clown shoes beverages.

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Photo of TrilliumFan
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First off, unlikely The Bourbon County Brand Barleywine I've been trying to drink, this was NOT infected. A nice barrel-aged stout. A dark scotch appearance; not the pitch black of some a stouts or as dark as many barleywines. Scotch on the nose. Nice flavor. Not the most complex BA barleywine but very enjoyable.

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Trillionaire from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 63 ratings